Unused Drugs Redirected to Uninsured Patients

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Charitable drug distributors are improving access to essential medications for low-income, uninsured patients in the United States.

One such organization, the Dispensary of Hope (DoH), has collected more than $150 million in medications from both manufacturers and health-systems since its founding in 2003.

In 2014 alone, DoH received $32.78 million in donated medications, retained a drug inventory of $8.07 million, and distributed $10.5 million worth of medications that were dispensed during more than 47,000 encounters at no cost to the patients.

DoH CEO Christopher Palombo, MA, MSHM, FACHE, told Pharmacy Times in an exclusive interview that participating manufacturers and health-systems are motivated to donate by moral imperatives and economic incentives.

“The reality we explain to manufacturers [and other donors] is it’s weird to destroy something while there are uninsured people who otherwise wouldn’t have the medications they need,” Palombo said.

In economic terms, he explained, drug manufacturers regularly overproduce medications. Once those drugs are within 6 months of expiration, companies are unable to sell them and often incinerate the inventory.

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